Airtel Africa is expanding its strategic partnership with Ericsson to enable 4G coverage in Kenya. With Ericsson’s Radio Access Network (RAN) and packet core products for 4G, Airtel subscribers will experience enhanced quality of voice and data.
The network modernization deal, signed in August 2020, is in line with the Kenyan Digital Economy Blueprint Vision 2030 which aims to provide robust connectivity in rural areas and facilitate e-commerce platforms. The modernization deal will drive the simplification and upgrade of the existing network and future-proof it for the anticipated rapid mobile expansion in the country.
With Ericsson Radio System and Packet Core solutions, Airtel Kenya’s network will have 4G coverage, while driving enhanced use cases in both the consumer and the enterprise segments. Ericsson technology shall make the network in Kenya ready for 5G deployment.
Prasanta Das Sarma, CEO at Airtel Kenya says: “Robust and secure communications are an essential component of a digital society in Kenya. We are firmly anchored to the strategy of delivering reliable connections across the country and are looking forward to expanding the high-quality mobile broadband services to our subscribers.”
Fadi Pharaon, President of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, says: “Together with Airtel, we will implement this project that aims to establish an advanced LTE network in Kenya, providing Airtel’s customers an enriched experience – both in the consumer and business segments. Through this partnership, we reaffirm our ambition to set #AfricaInMotion by partnering with Airtel to grow and support an increasingly digitalized society in Kenya.”
Furthermore, Ericsson will deploy its Kathrein Mobile Communication Antenna portfolio which will help provide additional enhancement to the network’s robustness whilst Ericsson’s technologically advanced network management system, Ericsson Network Manager will be utilized to support Airtel in managing the network seamlessly by integrating various network elements on single platform.
2Africa Consortium Plans Submarine Cable Landing Points in Southeast Nigeria, Three African Countries
The 2Africa consortium which is building the largest subsea cable project in the world, is set to extend four new branches to South East of Nigeria, Seychelles, the Comoros Islands, and Angola.
The 2Africa consortium, comprised of China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, STC, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC said the new branches join the recently announced extension to the Canary Islands.
2Africa subsea cable will deliver faster, more reliable internet service to each country where it lands. Communities that rely on the internet for services from education to healthcare, and business will experience the economic and social benefits that come from this increased connectivity.
Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) has been selected to deploy the new branches, which will increase the number of 2Africa landings to 35 in 26 countries, further improving connectivity into and around Africa.
As with other 2Africa cable landings, capacity will be available to service providers at carrier-neutral data centres or open-access cable landing stations on a fair and equitable basis, encouraging and supporting the development of a healthy internet ecosystem.
Since launching the 2Africa cable in May 2020, the 2Africa consortium has made considerable progress in planning and preparing for the deployment of the cable, which is expected to ‘go live’ late 2023. Most of the subsea route survey activity is now complete. ASN has started manufacturing the cable and building repeater units in its factories in Calais and Greenwich to deploy the first segments in 2022.
One of 2Africa’s key segments, the Egypt terrestrial crossing that interconnects landing sites on the Red and the Mediterranean Seas via two completely diverse terrestrial routes, has been completed ahead of schedule. A third diverse marine path will complement this segment via the Red Sea.
Meanwhile, Broadband network and digital services offered in Seychelles will soon get a boost from a new cable system that will be leased by Seychelles-based telecommunications provider Intelvision Limited with support from IFC.
IFC’s support to Intelvision, which provides data, Internet, and Internet-based voice services as well as pay-TV, includes an up to $10 million loan from its own account and an additional loan of $10 million mobilized from partners under the Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program (MCPP).
The funding will enable Intelvision to lease a new cable being built by Vodafone Carrier Services as a branch of the 2Africa cable network, one of the largest subsea projects in the world, spanning over 37,000 kilometers and connecting 26 countries around the world.
The new cable will complement the existing Seychelles East Africa System and is expected to lower the cost of connectivity for telecom operators on the islands and increase competition for fixed broadband and mobile data services.
“I think it will revolutionize the way we experience the internet here in Seychelles. We are pleased to work together with Vodafone and IFC amidst the challenges of the pandemic. Our aim is to enhance the telecommunication infrastructure of Seychelles and strengthen our digital offering to the people of Seychelles,” said Mukesh Valabhji, Chairman, Intelvision. “Our innovative products and services will continue to add value to the ever-growing demands for Internet connectivity. We have been at the forefront of offering affordable connectivity solutions to the Seychellois Nation and we intend to continue on the same path.”
The new cable system will deliver over 600Gbps of international bandwidth to Intelvision and will represent a significant step-up with respect to connectivity speeds for households and business customers. The cable will also increase the speed and capacity of Intelvision’s existing Fibre Optic & Hybrid Fibre Coaxial Networks.
“Better connectivity is tremendously important for powering economic and societal growth. Vodafone is committed to improving the availability, resilience and speed of Internet connections around the world, and this project to link the Seychelles with the ambitious 2Africa subsea cable will underpin future growth for the country and its citizens,” said Nick Gliddon, Director of Vodafone Carrier Services.
Through the 15-year lease agreement with Vodafone, Intelvision plans to launch mobile telephony services in Seychelles, a country where most consumers access the Internet through a mobile phone. The new cable system will also allow Intelvision to eventually expand its terrestrial network by providing 4G and 5G mobile networks to the whole of Mahé and the inner islands.
“By working with Intelvision to expand Seychelles’ digital offering, we can help the country meet growing demand for Internet connectivity while helping to lower prices to build a strong foundation for the country’s digital economic development,” said Marcelle Ayo, IFC’s Country Manager for Seychelles.
Seychelles’ economy relies heavily on tourism, accounting for 30 percent of GDP, which has suffered due to COVID-19-related travel disruption. Seychelles’ government is focused on strengthening the digital economy to support recovery and the next phase of the country’s economic growth.
Tizeti Widens Broadband Coverage to 10 New Cities
- Stakes $5m fund for African startup ISPs
- Launches Tizeti NeXTGEN Solutions
West Africa’s pioneer solar-based internet and voice service provider, Tizeti is widening the broadband envelope to 10 new cities in Nigeria in its desire to empower more Nigerians, stimulate economic activities and provide unlimited access to affordable and reliable broadband services.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Kendall Ananyi said “We are expanding our unlimited internet plans, currently available in cities in Lagos, Ogun, Rivers and Edo States, to Abuja, Ibadan, Kaduna, Kano, Warri/Asaba, Eket/Uyo, Onitsha, Aba, Enugu, and Calabar. We are building brand-new, solar-powered, 4G-capable towers in these cities and leveraging expansive fiber-networks built by some of our partners, to enable us to roll out our low-cost broadband service, and bring millions of people online, who can now take advantage of the life-changing socio-economic opportunities that access to the Internet provides.”
The company announced its partnership with a $5m venture fund focused on startup ISPs that are expanding internet access across Africa. According to the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Ifeanyi Okonkwo, the company will leverage its proprietary OS technology, global partnerships with equipment vendors, submarine cable companies, payment providers, and Venture firms to provide the resources for these startup ISPs to accelerate the availability of unlimited internet across the continent.
Successful startups will participate in a 3-months programme with at Tizeti’s location in Nigeria or Ghana where they are expected to gain the knowledge and expertise to rapidly launch affordable internet services in their respective countries.
Tizeti has also simplified its customer experience with a Smart Interactive Voice Response Service that extends its existing Wi-Fi Voice APIs and authenticates callers into their call centers using their phone numbers. This smart IVR reduces wait times and the need to talk to customer service agents by providing tailored information on account holders while on the phone call.
The company also extended this innovation to its Integration to major Customer Relationship Management systems such as Freshdesk, Zoho, and Bitrix 24. This new feature allows businesses to make and receive calls directly from their CRM applications using Wificall.ng at local call rates.
“Tizeti was built to tackle poor internet connectivity not only in Nigeria but on the continent as a whole, by developing a cost-effective solution from inception to delivery, for reliable and uncapped internet access for potentially millions of Africans”, said Ananyi. “Over the past years, we have been able to roll out our superfast broadband services in Lagos, Ogun, Rivers, and Edo state to address the huge demand for reliable unlimited internet service. This move to expand rapidly to 10 other states builds on the successes and allows us to expand quickly to Tier 2 and Tier 3 locations outside the unlimited broadband internet envelope. We also have our eyes on accelerating our expansion in other West African countries, over the next few years”, he said.
To enable more Africans to take advantage of digital offerings in a new world defined by the Covid-19 pandemic, Tizeti has launched new connectivity offerings. The new products encompass the company’s commitment to widening the broadband envelope in Nigeria with more robust internet plans, expanding coverage, especially in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, and a focus on accelerating internet availability across the continent with a new venture fund.
The products also reiterate the company’s focus on delivering a simpler and more convenient technology offering with a smart customer care operation and integrated Customer Relationship Management systems.
Speaking at the company’s annual conference, Tizeti NeXTGEN, Kendall Ananyi said the company reflected on digital interaction and transformation more seamless and intuitive for its stakeholders, especially during the wake of the disrupting global pandemic.
“The global pandemic expedited the need for technology to be more agile, faster, more intuitive, and easier to understand, irrespective of the peculiarities of its users. Many people were unable to quickly adapt to the new normal of working, connecting to family and colleagues remotely, and accessing various educational, occupational, entertainment, and other services virtually. Many firms took an unnecessarily long time to adjust to the constraints the pandemic brought, and this resulted in declined productivity, ineffective transformation, and lost revenue. Technology is only useful when it is creating solutions to problems and we believe that as a leader in the digital space in West Africa, we have a role to build the technology platforms that will allow our user base to be agile and relevant in the coming years. We saw the transition from physical everything to the work-from-home model overnight and knew that we had to help people and businesses change the way they work and play”.
Ananyi continued “This is why we have launched new voice and data service for residential, small, medium, and enterprise organizations within Nigeria. Our brand-new Turbo 100MBps Unlimited Internet Plans in Lagos will guarantee 100Mbps unlimited plans (which is 50 times faster than the existing plans in the market), with a free three months pilot to the first 100 signups in the Lekki area.”
Other speakers at Tizeti NeXTGEN include Yinka Adewale, co-founder/Chief Executive Officer, Kudi; Akin Jones, co-founder/Chief Executive Officer, Aella App; Dr. Femi Kuti, Chief Executive Officer, Reliance Health, Eniola Campbell, Country Managing Director, Nokia Nigeria, and Olubunmi Ogun, Deputy General Manager, Nigeria Sales, MainOne.
For many countries in Africa, there is still a huge digital divide. Tizeti is playing a significant role in addressing this digital infrastructure deficit in Africa with innovative technology and capabilities, to improve development outcomes for millions of people, with better outcomes for employment, education, family and social life, and access to information.
YahClick to Provide 9mobile Satellite Connectivity for Rural Areas
YahClick, the leading satellite broadband service from global operator Yahsat and its partner Hughes Network Systems, have signed a strategic partnership with Global Communications Extension Services Limited (GCES) to provide satellite connectivity for 9mobile, one of Nigeria’s leading mobile network operators.
YahClick’s partnership with GCES will bring satellite connectivity to hundreds of cellular backhauling sites, delivering 9mobile with a reliable and robust means of rural connectivity across its entire Nigerian operations.
The introduction of satellite services within rural and unserved areas will also positively impact the economy of the country as it strengthens Nigeria’s policy of financial inclusion championed by the Central Bank of Nigeria. Money vendors operating Point of Sale (POS) services and other merchants in these areas will benefit from the availability of broadband connectivity and increased financial transactions resulting in greater profitability therefore raising their standard of living.
CEO, YahClick, Farhan Khan, CEO, said the partnership has made it possible to overcome the barriers of remote connectivity. “Thanks to satellite backhauling option which makes it feasible to offer cellular services in areas that are prohibitively expensive to reach using traditional terrestrial means.
“Our partnership with GCES provides trustworthy, accessible and affordable broadband connectivity for one of Nigeria’s leading networks of choice, reiterating our commitment to advancing the country’s connectivity infrastructure.
“Our agreement unites three companies in working shoulder to shoulder to bridge the digital divide while enabling residents and businesses to realise their potential. As we expand further in Africa, this is another example of the power of collaboration with industry peers that share our vision of advancing humanity,” Khan said.
In signing this agreement, the CEO said YahClick and GCES will work to support 9mobile in providing its high-quality telecommunication services to individuals across Nigeria. With the addition of YahClick’s reliable satellite connectivity solutions, this partnership will ensure that citizens throughout the country have access to secure, affordable connectivity options nationwide, Khan adds.
Chief Technical Officer, GCES, Adamu Babadisa said, “For years, we have worked with all major telecommunication firms in Nigeria and overall Africa by providing professional quality services to the African telecommunication industry. This latest partnership will allow us at GCES to introduce 9mobile to the latest telecommunication applications, equipment, and IT infrastructure we provide to help sustain their mobile network operations.
“This partnership will not only eliminate the barriers to mobile internet adoption within remote regions in Nigeria but also improves the citizens’ access to affordable devices, data plans and opportunities which arise from staying connected. This is a step closer to uplifting the marginalized communities that live in unserved and underserved regions not to mention the socioeconomic benefits that come with sighting of such infrastructure in terms of job creation and economic prosperity of these communities.”
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